Smiling woman displays homemade pie at auction

Rooted in colourful past, good times endure at Maycroft

Eighty-four years ago, back in 1938, the good people in and around the Maycroft area decided to build themselves a hall. In typical old-fashioned country tradition, land was donated by George Heaton, lumber came from a sawmill on the Dennis Ranch and hardware (building supplies) came from Art Densmore’s Lundbreck Trading.

Pretty much everyone north of Lundbreck and Cowley pitched in every chance they could to make it happen and, true to fashion, they did.

The hall had its first concert in 1939, and used to hold three or four concerts a year. The kids from nearby Maycroft School also held their Christmas concerts there.

According to longtime supporter Ida Dennis, in the early days the ranchers used to sort their cows (sometimes 800-plus) in the fall at the hall area until corrals were built in the Gap.

The whole idea of events at the hall was always to support the Christmas concert and to maintain and improve the place.

Ida says, “They also put on dances where the ladies made a special lunch box, which would then be auctioned off. The one who brought the most money usually had a bottle of beer in it! The buyer would share the lunch with the lady who made it.”

A few additions have been made over the years. In the early days there was a wood stove to make coffee on, and lighting was with Coleman gas lamps until they got electricity in 1960.

For the longest time, Ida says, there was no bar inside and the dances were known to get pretty rough, with lots of “fightin’ and drinkin’ outside.” Apparently local residents would appear in the afternoon and hide their bottles in gopher holes for later in the evening, “so they could step out with a buddy for a little snort.”

Ida recalls that some of the gals would sneak out and move the bottles to different holes just to see the cowboys’ reaction.

Kathy Rast, organizer of the annual fundraiser for Maycroft Hall, says there used to be spring and fall dances, which eventually morphed into the more popular annual supper and concert. This has been going on since 2010 and it is just an awful lot of fun, which includes their now famous pie auctions.

Last Saturday, Maycroft Hall rolled out the carpet for area residents to dine and dance, and to support the hall by getting into crazy bidding wars for specialty pies created for the event.

Through the years, Kathy says, they have raised $64,252.58 with the pie and roast auctions. With this kind of support, the hall committee has replaced the hardwood dance floor and has installed new siding (inside and out), new windows in the entire hall, hot water on demand, natural gas hookups and, recently, Wi-Fi connections.

This year the auction was zany as usual, with auctioneer Dylan Bates skilfully extracting over $2,600 from the pockets of the always-supportive locals. The standing record at the hall is $2,100 paid for one pie some years ago, which was bought and re-donated several times.

Canada Day events galore!

Canada Day events in Pincher Creek

In Pincher Creek, Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village will host a day of family activities starting at 10 a.m. There will be a bouncy castle and traditional picnic activities, including a three-legged race, a sack race and an egg race.

Blue Rock Entertainment will DJ the event and Noel Burles will perform live music. Admission is free, and burgers and ice cream will be sold. A beer garden will also be available.

 

Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village curator Farley Wuth grins widely as he shows off his sparkly Canada Day hat.
Farley Wuth, curator of Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek, and museum staff look forward to welcoming a big crowd on Canada Day.

 

The day will finish with DJ Stu broadcasting live from the agriculture grounds on 103.5 FM, starting at 9 p.m. Families can gather to enjoy the music and fun at the outdoor venue that will conclude with a fireworks display at 11.

Organizers request that dogs be left at home.

The duck race along Pincher Creek and the Legion’s afternoon market have both been cancelled.

 

 

Canada Day events in Cowley

Cowley hasn’t held a Canada Day celebration since the country’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

“It’s been a long time since people have had the opportunity to actually come to a public open event,” says Mayor Barbara Burnett. “I think it’s long overdue.”

A large turnout is expected, with some people coming from as far as Claresholm and Taber.

“There has been a lot of interest in the village,” says Mayor Burnett. “Recent house sales have gone immediately. Within two weeks they sold. One even sold for $30,000 over market price.”

“We’re just trying to make the village visible,” she says, adding that the desire to make Cowley more attractive to outsiders, and to give the community more of a regional spotlight, were primary motivators behind the decision to host the event.

 

 

The festivities will start with a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at Cowley Community Hall, where MLA Roger Reid and MP John Barlow will make an appearance.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., car enthusiasts can display their classic cars at a show and shine by the railway tracks across from the post office.

They will also have an opportunity to take part in the parade that will begin at 11 a.m. at the corner of First Avenue and Highway 510 and circle around the northwest end of the village past the railway tracks. Parade preparation will begin around 10:15 a.m. and registration is not required.

Mayor Burnett says the event committee extended parade invitations to the Cowley Boat Club, to a provincewide gun group known as the Alberta Black Powder Association and to all Cowley residents aged 75 or older.

 

 

The community hall will be filled with a variety of activities, including a market that will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a heritage display with historic photos of the village. Locals will have the opportunity to play cards and Rene Desjardins will provide musical accompaniment, likely country and classic rock.

There will be plenty of family-friendly activities, including face-painting, soccer and equipment demonstrations from Cowley Fire Department. The fire crew will also be flipping hamburgers starting at noon.

Children are encouraged to set up their own lemonade stands, and Cowley resident Norm Walker has arranged for free ice cream.

 

 

Canada Day events in Crowsnest Pass

Pre-pandemic events are making a comeback in Crowsnest Pass and Canada Day will start with breakfast and a parade.

From 8 to 10 a.m., folks can head over to the Coleman Legion for pancakes — $8 for anyone 13 or older, $5 for children aged five to 12, and free for children under five.

The parade will depart from Flumerfelt Park at 11 a.m. and pass through downtown Coleman. Entry applications are still being accepted.

 

Coleman Community Society Canada Day parade float
The Coleman Community Society, which puts on Canada Day activities in Crowsnest Pass, with its float in a past Canada Day parade.

 

From noon to 4, Flumerfelt Park will be a hub of activity, complete with a bouncy house, a splash pad and inflatable bumper balls. Guitarist Kevin Smith will perform live music and Harvest Spoon and Snacknhand will sell burgers, pizza cones and fries.

Cake will be passed around at 1 p.m.from 8 to 10 a.m.

The mini heritage railway train will be making rounds near the Canadian Pacific Railway line junction off 133rd Street, and children can take a free ride any time in the afternoon.

 

 

Crowsnest Cando has arranged for live musical entertainment in front of Roxy Theatre, located on Coleman’s main thoroughfare.

The lineup includes Tynan Groves, Larry Whan, Lani Folkard, Sarah Lillian,the Big Beat and On the Rox, with music starting at 1 p.m.

Raffle tickets will be on sale for a chance to win Roxy merch and a Canada Day cake.

Everyone is invited to visit Crowsnest Pass Museum to check out the newly updated exhibits on the second floor, or to stop by the Alberta Provincial Police Barracks to take part in Escape the Barracks, its latest attraction, launching July 1.

 

 

Share your Canada Day photos for potential publication to publisher@shootinthebreeze.ca.

 

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